Summer is here in the Northern Hemisphere, which means longer days and longer nights. Most people are in better form with more light and sunshine; life can seem nicer and better for a little while.
For the parents out there the word Summer has different connotations. Summer means more stress, more organising, longer days and bored children, all adding up to make you wish the rain and school would come more quickly than it does.
Now of course we all love our children but filling an eight-hour day with activities has its challenges whether you are at home with them or asking your child minder to keep them busy. Here are a few tips all parents can make use of to help stay organised and in control of the long Summer days.
1. Plan the Weekly Meals
Sounds like an obvious one but with the bright evenings I for one don’t fancy spending my evening in the Supermarkets. When you don’t organize the meals in advance you end up spending time in the shops everyday. It’s better to bite the bullet and put a little bit of planning into the weekly meals. BBQ’s are a must this time of year so don’t be caught out with no burgers left on the shelf, have some stock in the fridge so you can light the fire as soon as you get home from work on that bright summer’s evening.
2. Check the Wardrobes
Take stock of the kid’s wardrobes and make sure they all have the summer essentials. Move the winter clothes out of the way so that the kids can easily find what they are looking for. Label the drawers and shelves so that they can find and also put away their clothes. For smaller children label the cupboard with images of t-shirts, shorts etc. This not only makes life easier for one and all, it also starts to teach your kids some responsibility for their own belongings.
3. Buy a beach bag
Buy a bag dedicated to the beach, you can add your picnic blankets, sun creams and any other item you typically bring to the beach., Beach towels can be placed in the bag after they have been shaken out and washed. Having everything ready to go means you will be able to take advantage of the sunny days when they do arrive, needing less time for packaging and preparation.
4. Check the picnic basket
If you don’t’ have a picnic basket invest in one. It doesn’t have to be a basket, it could be a larger cooler box or bag. By having it ready to go like the beach bag, you can become more spontaneous and squeeze more fun out of life.
5. Create a job list
Now with all the fun times you and your family will be having we better not forget about the chores. Don’t be tempted into the “I’ll be quicker doing it myself” syndrome. Get the kids involved, give them age appropriate tasks to do daily. Unfortunately, as adults we know it can’t be all fun and games but make sure they are aware of this up front. When kids know that chores are part of every day they are less like to moan and groan. I’m not saying they won’t complain at all, but it should gradually reduce in quantity and in volume the more consistent you are with getting them to do their chores.
6. Create an activity list
Along with the chore list, create an activity list. If your kids are anything like mine, they have a one track mind and it’s all about screens. When you tell them tablet time is finished, they reach for their phones, if the phones are banned they switch on the TV. Turn off the TV and they ask for the computer. Having a list of activities, you know your kids enjoy, pinned to the fridge will give them ideas of what they can do when the screen time is done. Art, crafts, lego, puzzles whatever it is your kids enjoy, have plenty of ideas and the materials at hand to make it easy for them.
7. Agree on Family Outings
Most children love structure and prefer to be kept in the loop about what’s planned for the near future.. Get them to come up with a list of places they would like to go over the summer. Agree on the number of outings and together schedule them in the calendar. This will avoid the questions and give them something to look forward to. By making upfront decision you can avoid a lot of stress and unease.
Take the steps to stay organised and maintain routine during the summer months for happier faces all round.
Photo Credit: Family by Kiran Foster via Flickr